Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ghost-like apparitions who have no wrinkles and smell like laundry detergent, er, women. Patriarchy's wet dream!

I watch a lot of TV. If I'm being honest, I watch too much TV. But in my television watching, I often notice certain paradigms portrayed in advertising. I know, I know, we've already had posts on advertising and how big of a shaft it gives to women and gender equality. And good posts at that. :)

But certain commercials bother me, and this is my place to rant about them. So, rant I will.

Commercial That Bothers Me #1: Suave.

This commercial bothers me for two main reasons. It buys into the less woman-friendly patriarchal gender roles and it further demeans the women within said gender roles, whether they're there by choice or not.

Now for the description:

An invisible person is doing a variety of things. They are pushing a grocery cart, feeding a baby, carrying laundry upstairs, pulling a child away from a television screen, picking out a man's socks, and cooking dinner. Then you see that the invisible person is the, I guess, ghost of a woman who would be doing those things, but she has somehow escaped long enough to wash her hair with Suave products and become beautiful again.

Honestly, I don't even think this commercial NEEDS feminist analysis to seem really bad. But, I've been dying to do it because I "argh" at the screen every time it comes on.

I'm just wondering, why is it that said man in this commercial cannot pick out his own socks? Is it too hard to open a drawer and pick them up? Does the ghost woman put them on his feet, too? Once again, why is it that women have to make up for "male weakness" by being domestic slaves? Why is the ghost woman the only one to feed the baby? Why is she the only one doing laundry?

And now to my last question: What makes women who do these things not beautiful? Why do they have to spend their money on beauty products to be "beautiful"? I don't see anyone telling the man who's socks she picked out that he's not beautiful because he works for a living.

/rant #1.

Commercial That Bothers Me #2: Tide

This commercial bothers me for one reason, but it's a big bother.

Description: A woman is shown feeding her baby, with a voiceover of "smelling like a mom" or some variant. Then, after she uses Tide on her clothing, she is shown in a romantic scene with a man and the voiceover changes to "smelling like a woman".

This bothers me. I'm wondering why a woman can't "smell like a mom" and "smell like a woman" at the same time. It's a classic example of the trap set for women by patriarchy. If you don't procreate on cue, you're just a floozy slutbag. If you do, you're no longer sexually desirable and you stink, apparently. Again, this is turning women into simple roles rather than people who have numerous facets to their personality, not to mention people who can display all of those facets at the same time. Motherhood isn't shameful, and it isn't the antithesis to womanhood. I see no reason why it should have to be hidden from men like it's "unsexy".

Commercials That Bother Me #3: Wrinkle Cream

There isn't one specific commercial for this rant. It's all of them. I don't care how they're displayed, constructed, introduced, any of it. I don't care about that.

I'm worried about the concept of wrinkle cream more so than the commercials themselves, although the commercials are misleading and dishonest, considering they seem to make anti-wrinkle attitudes out to be the ideas of women as opposed to the ideas of the men they're sleeping with or the culture around them. Every time I see a wrinkle commercial I ask my mom a question and I'm sure she's tired of hearing it.

Why the hell don't MEN have to make sure they never have wrinkles? Women make less on the dollar, and they have to spend much more on grooming and making sure they never age, which is another impossible feat. Women always have to be given impossible feats to accomplish, and it boggles my mind.

And now my huge rant is over. It probably didn't make much sense, but in all actuality, neither do any of these commercials or concepts. That's all I have to say about THAT before my head explodes.


Drew said...

Quit worrying about sexism so much; you'll get wrinkles. ;-)

Emily said...

Drew just opened the doors to a conspiracy theory! Maybe wrinkle cream commercials are sexist so we can all frown and furrow our brows so much that we get wrinkles prematurely and, therefore, buy the wrinkle cream. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile, so if we smiled at the commercials, cosmetic companies would sell less wrinkle cream.

Bree said...

Oh dude, thank you so much for posting this...I thought I was the only one that gets driven to the edge of instanity by these commercials! (and the Hummer one, too!)

Drew said...

Emily, we're gonna take to the streets and take down the cosmetic industry.